Marie Hansen was one of the first female photojournalists employed by Life magazine. She joined the magazine in 1941 and was based in Washington, D.C. during the rest of the decade. Within a month of her appointment as staff photographer she produced a photographic essay on the training of the first women officers in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps. Her photos from that assignment were featured in an exhibition held by the New-York Historical Society in 2019. Other major Life assignments included the reactions of Zoot suit lovers to wartime restrictions on extravagant clothing, the historic performance of Marian Anderson at DAR Constitution Hall, and a memorable photo of a billboard thermometer in Columbus Circle, Manhattan, displaying a temperature higher than 100° Fahrenheit. In April 1945, when Harry S. Truman succeeded to the presidency, she was assigned to cover the White House and thereafter became one of the first women to join the White House News Photographers Association. Later that year Hanson took a photo of Dwight D. Eisenhower that he subsequently used as a quasi-official portrait.